Lawmakers push for no taxes in death

Rep. proposes online death certificate to offset loss of revenue

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's been said the two things we can count on in life are death and taxes, but some lawmakers want to make sure there's no more payments for taxes after your time is up.

Many are unaware that the fee is incurred where a death certificate is issued, not where you live.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be hard enough. The last thing people want to get hit with is a tax from that death. Some people in the state now have to pay a little extra to be cremated.

"Not all counties, but some counties, have begun to charge a fee for this service."

Almost two thirds of Florida's counties charge a county service fee for cremation. Rep. Ross Spano introduced the bill after dealing with families going through the extra costs during estate and probate court.

"The thinking was, we pay lots of fees and surcharges and taxes in our lifetime. Maybe it's a good idea at death not to charge that fee," said Spano.

The county service fee isn't charged for traditional burials. The bills supporters hope that this puts an end to taxes after death.

"The taxman shouldn't be dancing on the graves of those who have died simply to exact another fee after they're dead," said Florida Funeral and Cemeteries Consumer Advocate James Wylie.

Cremation service fees vary from nothing to more than $60. Counties using the system would have made about $4 million on the tax if they used it on every person that died in 2012. Spano said the loss of revenue can be offset by an online death certificate system.

"We created a system statewide that allows counties to use that system," Spano said. "So they've incurred tremendous administrative savings."

The legislation was approved unanimously at its first committee, but it still has two more hearings.

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